Outdoor Systems – Part 2 – The 10+2 Outdoor Systems

by | Feb 25, 2023 | Lessons Learned, Planning, Skills

Home » Blog » Skills » Outdoor Systems – Part 2 – The 10+2 Outdoor Systems

In my last article I introduced the concept of outdoor systems and why it’s important to think of them as a way to solve problems or mitigate risks.  Personally, I use a slightly modified version of the 10 essential systems.  The first 10 of these are important for any outdoor activity (to varying degrees), be it hiking, camping or backpacking. I also include two others, which while not “essential” do make things more enjoyable and can improve your outdoor experience.

Without further ado, here are the systems:

System 1: Water – Keeping our bodies hydrated (and sometimes clean).

System 2: Clothing – Wearing the right layers to keep you warm and dry.

System 3: Protection – Protecting ourselves from outdoor hazards like the sun, bugs, and animals.

System 4: Food – Keeping our bodies fueled while experiencing the outdoors.

System 5: Light – When your activities keep you out longer than the sun.

System 6:  Navigation – How to get to where you’re going (and back).

System 7: Shelter – When weather turns or night falls, making sure we have a little piece of “inside” with us.

System 8: Repair – Like carrying a spare tire in your car, what to do when gear fails.

System 9: First Aid – Being prepared when the unfortunate happens.

System 10: Heat – More than just starting a fire. Solving the problem of warming up (vs. just keeping warm).

System 11: Cooking (optional) – Turning food into a meal.

System 12: Sleeping (optional) – When planning to stay the night, waking up the next morning rested and ready to go.


In my next article I’ll talk about the 5 elements that go into an Outdoor System


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